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A Graveside Companion

Joanna Ebenstein


The ultimate death compendium, featuring the world's most extraordinary artistic and ethnographic objects concerned with mortality, allied to text by expert contributors

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Death is an inevitable fact of life. Throughout the centuries and around the world, humanity has sought to come to terms with this sobering thought through art and ritual.

A volume of unprecedented breadth and sinister beauty, Death: A Graveside Companion examines a staggering range of cultural attitudes to death within seven themed chapters. Nineteen experts contribute thought-provoking essays on specific aspects of humanity’s cultural legacy of ideas concerning death. The essays are followed by gallery pages presenting a breathtaking variety of death-related imagery drawn from every major culture, from Neolithic China and Bronze Age Mexico to medieval Germany, 18th-century Nepal and 20th-century France.

From catacombs, crypts and bone-pits to reliquaries, embalmings and mummies, and from memento mori, vanitas and danse macabre to vernacular tokens, found photography and curios from bygone rituals, this astonishing compendium features more than 1,000 images and incorporates high art, kitsch and all points in between.

With a foreword by Will Self and featuring never-before-published photographs of many of the wide-ranging and eclectic art, artifacts and ephemera found in the Richard Harris Art Collection, Death: A Graveside Companion is a book like no other, packed with morbid inspiration and macabre insights to take to the grave.

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'A delightfully dark compendium'
The Economist

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Quarterbound/PLC (no jacket)

Edition Type: First edition

Size: 26.4 x 20.6 cm

Extent: 368 pp

Publication date: 26 October 2017

ISBN: 9780500519714

Contents List

1. The Art of Dying • 2. Examining the Dead • 3. Memorialising the Dead • 4. The Personification of Death • 5. Symbolising Death • 6. Death as Amusement • 7. The Dead After Life

About the Author

Joanna Ebenstein is a multi-disciplinary artist, curator, writer, lecturer and graphic designer. She runs the Morbid Anatomy blog and website, and founded the Morbid Anatomy Museum. Ebenstein photographs, curates and collects artefacts, images and texts relating to curious collections, early museums and cabinets of curiosity, collectors and collecting, medical museums and museums of natural history. She is the author of Death and The Anatomical Venus.

List of Contributors

Will Self